Today we interviewed Jeff Finnerty, the Senior Director of Marketing and Sales for the company GrowHealthy.
Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was drawn to transition my career into the Cannabis industry by witnessing the powerful possibilities of the plant and the people creating access to it. I have an immediate family member who has long suffered with the debilitating impacts of Fibromyalgia. For years she was unable to hold a job or enjoy the fruits of normal family and friendship activities due to pain and suffering from her illness. A couple of years ago as legislation made access to medical cannabis a reality, she began using the plant to help with her symptoms. The enhancement to her life has been stunning. She now holds a physically demanding job, while enjoying the ability to reengage in relationships and activities that did not seem possible before. Since joining the industry, I hear stories like this every day from our patients, and it is awe inspiring and motivates me and my team to keep working to create greater access and awareness to this life changing plant.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In February we launched GrowHealthy’s RSO Full-Spectrum Cannabis Oil. During the first month in my role I had spent a lot of time talking with Physicians and Patients across the state and began to learn more about RSO. RSO is a product that has been shown in cases to provide great benefits to cancer patients. In Florida only 2 dispensaries were producing the product, and it was often out of stock. As I learned more and started to build out our new product development process, creating an effective RSO line of products to help the patient population in Florida became a priority. We brought Sativa, Hybrid and Indica versions of RSO to market in Q1 this year to great reviews and appreciation from both Physicians and Patients. About a month ago I received a call from a patient who had started taking our Sativa RSO upon suggestion from her oncologist. She was calling to say, “thank your company for creating this RSO, your company is going to save my life.” She went
on to explain that her oncologist was blown away by her progress and changes to her cell counts. It was such a powerful reminder of the impact our industry can have on people’s lives.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I know I make mistakes all the time, and most lead to great learning, and new ideas. When I was first starting in Cannabis, I knew very little about the wide array of products and processes available to address a wide variety of symptoms and conditions for our patients. It was laughable how much I needed to learn, and quickly. That lead to a commitment to reach out to physicians, patients, our retail teams, our cultivators and extractionists and read everything I could get my hands on in order to build my brain on the medical cannabis industry, our patient’s needs, and the opportunities available for GrowHealthy to innovate and expand to further help our patients live happier, healthier lives.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
GrowHealthy recently announced expansion of the brand’s presence in Southwest Florida with new locations in Clearwater-Largo and Cape Coral. GrowHealthy continues to elevate the growing need for patient care, safety and convenience with the pilot-launch of an easy-to-use same-day service that dramatically reduces delivery wait times. Currently being pilot tested in Orlando, Florida, TrailBlazerTM is GrowHealthy’s new rapid delivery service, offering same- day delivery on a full-line of premium cannabis items, including flower. Promising safe, same-day arrival of products, TrailBlazerTM is a fast, convenient and transparent method for patients in need of rapid relief. GrowHealthy also just launched a new line of cannabis distillate and tincture products, FrutFul, made with all-natural fruit derived terpenes.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
It would be incredibly difficult to point to a singular mentor that I have relied on in my career. I spent the first 16 years of my sales and marketing career at The Coca-Cola Company, and I always think back to an early conversation with one of my first mentors there. I had asked this 30-year veteran of the company about career development, and what I should be considering next for myself – questions like should I leave to work towards advanced degrees or keep pursuing the next opportunity to advance at the company. I will never forget his response. He told me he had spent the last 30 years attending “Coca-Cola University”, that each day he had the opportunity (if he made it a personal priority) to learn from some of the world’s greatest marketers, people leaders and business luminaries right there at Coca-Cola. With his advice as a guiding light I can honestly tell you that I have had dozens of mentors. I seek to learn each day from not only the leaders I work for and with, but I have learned equally from the talented and passionate people that I am fortunate enough to have work for me as well.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
At GrowHealthy, our mission is to help you live your best life. We deliver on that promise every day by providing the highest-quality, all-natural, cannabis-derived products to Florida’s medical cannabis patients. Meeting the state of Florida’s strict quality standards, GrowHealthy’s cannabis products are meticulously crafted in a state-of-the-art facility, optimized with the tools and technology necessary for the production of a dynamic range of all-natural medicinal treatments for patients. Marketing our dispensaries and all-natural cannabis brands starts with a passionate commitment by everyone in our organization to our mission. We look for ways to create awareness, access and support for Florida’s medical marijuana patients – and use all tools at our disposal to engage in real two-way conversations with them
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
The most exciting thing, to me, about the Cannabis industry is its untapped potential. I don’t just mean the potential for growth from a business and economic standpoint either. There is still so much education that needs to happen, so the general public truly understands the powerful potential for cannabis to help people live happier, healthier lives. For the average person to find relief and comfort from symptoms and conditions that they struggle with daily, with a safe, natural solution. The more that stories like my family member’s, or the cancer patient who called me about RSO are socialized and mainstreamed the more people will shift their views on cannabis, and the more people who can benefit from its availability. As far as what concerns me, it’s really just the amount of time and work needed to build that awareness, break through stigmas, and create both societal acceptance – and hopefully more consistent and accepting regulatory environments.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Find people who understand your mission and empower them each and everyday to impact people’s lives. When your mission is to help each and every patient, we come in contact with to live a happier, healthier life the motivation to be engaged, compassionate and committed is pretty easy. We have a mantra of “leave no patient behind” and we focus on celebrating these incredible stories of how people’s lives are changed for the better because of our people and products. Celebrate the contributions of everyone in the organization that ultimately supports the mission and show them how they impact people’s lives on a daily basis. If you do that right, everything else will follow.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My assimilation into the cannabis industry, and more important the cannabis community, has really brought to light for me the power of simple ideas of compassionate care, empathy, and committing yourself to having a positive impact on each and every person you have the opportunity to interact with, every day. There are millions of people who live this idea today, but a movement that could expand that would create an even better world for us and our children to live in.
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